In this installment of the Transcendent 10-series, we take a look at feats made for dwarves. As before, we actually get notes on the usage/design rationale behind each feat, which is rather nice. The pdf clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
Helpful particularly for newer GMs: Since quite a few of these feats are based on morale and make use of this component, they often increase morale bonuses to avoid stacking issues. These increases do not necessarily presume there to be a previously existing bonus.
The feats are:
-Alloyed Courage: If the weakest member in the party attacks an enemy in combat, your morale bonus to attack and damage versus that target increase by +1, which increases to +2 at 11th level. Now, as a nice component, we actually do get guidelines to determine the currently weakest character, though a concise hierarchy would have been appreciated there. Still, from a design-perspective, I like this; as far as benefits go, not so much.
-Born of the Tireless Earth: Select an hour of birth; each day, on this hour, you regain daily powers and spells as though you had rested fully. However, rests at other times do NOT replenish spells, abilities etc. This is interesting in that it completely changes how dwarves behave on a foundational level when compared to other races. The legendary staying power can thus be represented by the boon and the retaining of fatigue/exhaustion means that they still have to rest. While this should never be combined with options to negate these two conditions, it is otherwise a feat I really, really like.
-Brother of Stone: For non-dwarves; gain +1 to Fort- or Will-saves and count as dwarf for the purpose of abilities etc. The feat also acts as Great Fortitude or Iron Will for prerequisite purposes. Kinda flavorful, but feels more like a trait for me.
-By No Other Hand: When casting a spell with a material component or focus you created or target a masterwork item you created, you increase CL by 2. I like this. Its benefits could be a bit more exciting, but the flavor fits.
-Fire in the Belly: Drink alcohol as a move action, or two doses as a full round action. Per dose, you gain one spirited point. Maximum for these points is Con-mod, and they last for Con-mod hours since the last drink. As a free action you can spend any of these points for a morale bonus to the next d20-roll; however, the roll after that takes an equal penalty. I like what was attempted here, be we know how this will be somewhat swingy, with players attempting to use the penalized d20-rolls for Perception or Knowledge. The penalty should pertain the same type of roll instead. Also: Penalties aren’t typed in PFRPG.
-Oath of Stone: Choose Con- or Wis-mod. A number of times (not per day – these pertain oaths and fulfilling them!) equal to the chosen modifier, you may choose to swear a sacred oath. You record the wording and roll a d20. A number of times per day equal to the chosen modifier, you may substitute the roll of the oath for saving throws, provided failing the save would interfere with the oath. Pretty cool – but can also be sucky if you have bad luck on the roll; I’d probably provide a bonus or minimum value (like 11 or 15) depending on how well the player RPs the oath.
-Pride of Craft: +1 to atk and damage when wielding a weapon you have crafted. When wearing armor or shield you made, gain +1 to AC instead. If fighting with both, you may choose to allocate the bonus anew to offense and defense each round. The bonus increases to +2 at 11th level. Provides a bit of choice and rewards making your own stuff. Solid, if not too exciting.
-Rhythm of the Forge: Okay, this one is problematic. As a free action, allied dwarves may go in your bardic performance; for each dwarf that joins in, your bard level is increased by 1, with a maximum of Cha bonus or ½ bard levels, rounded down. This is pretty circumstantial in its benefits and imho should have a maximum range.
-Warforge (Item Creation): You may Craft Magic Arms and Armor (not capitalized properly) as though you had the feat, using BAB as CL. Every odd level lets you choose a spell with a spell level up to equal half your level, allowing you to craft as though you knew it. Okay, this one is gold. While personally, I’d let the dwarf choose one spell per level, this is good representation of the traditional dwarven crafting angle.
-Will of Stone: Use Con for Will-saves instead of Wis-mod, but effects that decrease Fort-saves now also apply to Will. Kudos: No double affecting. I usually hate feats like this, but the potential double-edge makes me like it. Kudos.
Editing and formatting on a formal level are good. On a rules-language level, we have a couple of minor deviations, but none that impede the functionality of the content herein in a bad way. The pdf adheres to a 2-column full-color standard, is pretty printer-friendly and sports no interior artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none.
Christen N. Sowards’ feats for dwarves are somewhat less exciting that his caster feats, in that they provide ore down to earth (haha) benefits. That being said, this may well be one of the few pdfs where I’d actually champion an upgrade of potency regarding couple of the feats herein. You see, I like the ideas of pretty much every feat, and they range from brilliant (Born of the Tireless Earth) to somewhat underwhelming (Brother of Stone); however, all of them have a distinct identity, and that is worth something. I also liked that they attempt to do interesting things. While there are a couple of true gems herein, I ultimately consider the pdf to be a mixed bag, slightly on the positive side, for a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.
You can get these feats here on OBS!